According to EA's top man, the publisher is a huge believer in the Mass Effect franchise.
It came to light yesterday that Mass Effect 3 would not be coming out at the end of this year as was originally planned, and had slipped into early 2012. It seems now that part of that delay is down to EA and BioWare making changes to the game in order to get more people to buy it.
Speaking during a conference call for investors, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that BioWare was taking apart various elements of the Mass Effect experience and adjusting them to give the game a more broad market appeal. This effort, he said, would put the game in a genre that was "equivalent to shooter-meets-RPG." He said that EA was a huge believer in the IP, and wanted as many people to play Mass Effect 3 as possible.
This news has not gone down well in some quarters, with some already accusing EA of "dumbing down" the game, before it even comes out. The assumption seems to be that BioWare would focus on the shooter gameplay, and let the RPG elements fall by the wayside. It's important to remember, however, that this was a comment intended for investors, not gamers, so is undoubtedly lacking in context and detail.
BioWare's Casey Hudson may have previously stated that the combat in Mass Effect 3 would be the best in the series, but that doesn't automatically mean that it will come at the expense of the RPG side. With more than seven months to go before the game comes out, it's probably best to wait until we've seen something more than screenshots before we start making assumptions about the game.